Rev. Karen Hernandez
I have almost no sense of direction. By the time I am able to give someone directions, they are precise and accurate because I have to pay such close attention to get myself anyplace without GPS. (Truly, GPS was invented for people like me.)
I moved to Idaho in 2008 after having lived twenty-five miles from New York City for the previous six years. I remember asking for directions about a month after arriving in Idaho. I was told something like, “Well, you head out of town, then take a left. When you can’t go any further, take a right.” I was absolutely baffled, and I asked, “Take a left on what road?” The Idaho native correctly answered, “Any of them. It doesn’t matter.” I was very concerned as I set off driving, but he was exactly right! To my amazement, I got to the very place I intended to go!
The first few times I visited Sawtooth were similar. The hand-drawn maps and the grace of God got me there, but to just wander off down a trail was pretty frightening to me—and those were the trails right on camp property! I was always worried about whether I was on the right path to get me to from the lodge to the chapel or wherever I was headed. It’s taken me years and many Sawtooth visits to calm down and trust that I’ll get where I’m going, even if I don’t take the most direct route.
This is the kind of experience I’m anticipating for the CrossOver Year to Life, except for one key difference: there will be many of us on the road at the same time. Even though we’re all invited to start at the same place (which is Brian McLaren’s book We Make the Road by Walking), there are many directions in which it may lead us. Some will choose an online path of connecting with disciples across the Greater Northwest Area, while others will be part of groups within their local congregations or communities. Many groups will likely journey with friends and acquaintances, but I hope that there will also be crossover conversations among different congregations, districts and annual conferences. The various roads we walk will surely diverge from one another, wind around in all kinds of ways, and hopefully intersect many times as we make the road by walking.
After leading a handful of charge conference clusters so far, I’m noticing a common misunderstanding that I’d like to address. While the CrossOver Year to Life is very intentionally scheduled because of the upcoming special General Conference in 2019, the CrossOver Year is definitely not about human sexuality. My hope is that there are honest and healthy conversations happening in every congregation about the upcoming General Conference. It is important to be informed and to talk about it.
But the CrossOver Year is about seeking abundant life as we journey through scripture and McLaren’s thoughts and questions about it. It’s a year when we’ll find out what happens when faithful Methodists (and all who they invite to join in) across the Greater Northwest Area all seek to build and deepen relationships with one another and their communities. If we’re seeking to be relevant, then I fully expect that human sexuality, politics, and hot button issues of all kinds may enter the conversation—as well they should when we seek to apply scripture to our lives.
By the way, my GPS and I have taken a lot of roads lately! One to note: “Small Places, Big Ideas” hosted by Pocatello UMC on Oct. 6 was excellent! My thanks to Rev. Michael Scarlett (host), Rev. Dr. Leroy Barber (coordinator), and Cheryl Miller (fantastic guest speaker) for providing an opportunity for small churches to learn how to make big differences that really do change the world!
I am blessed to be on the road with you.
Peace of Christ,
CrossOver Year to Life
How are you accepting the Bishop’s invitation into the crossover year?
Do you have a copy of Brian McClaren’s We Make the Road by Walking yet?
Are you ready to follow the reading calendar?
Have you visited the crossover webpage to check out the blog and other resources?
Have you joined our district Facebook group for online conversations?
What other ideas do you have about experiencing the CrossOver year, connecting to others across the area, or inviting neighbors to join you? Share these ideas on the district Facebook page!
Where Is the District Superintendent in November?
Nov. 3-4 Magic Valley charge conference clusters
Nov. 9-10 Hispanic Council and Immigration Task Force
Nov. 11-13 Northeast Oregon charge conference clusters
Nov. 15 Ministry Leadership Team
Nov. 17 Eastern Idaho charge conference cluster